Today we speak to one of New York’s most buzzed about bartenders, Leo Robitschek.
I’m a native of Venezuela, and I began my career in hospitality while attending the University of Miami. Shortly after graduating, I moved to New York City where I developed an appreciation for well-crafted cocktails using seasonal ingredients and a diverse array of spirits.
I quickly immersed myself in the cocktail world and gained recognition among my peers and patrons. In 2005, I joined the Eleven Madison Park team to help reinvent its cocktail program and was promoted to head bartender in 2009. Combining tradition and innovation, I like to create cocktails that work in harmony with Chef Daniel Humm’s food, taking inspiration from legendary classics. My expertise and accomplishments were recognized in 2011 at Tales of the Cocktail in New Orleans where Eleven Madison Park was honored as the “World’s Best Restaurant Bar.” In that same year, I was named Rising Star Mixologist by Star Chefs. I continue to develop my creative vision both at Eleven Madison Park and at the NoMad Hotel, showcasing both classic and proprietary cocktails while constantly striving to redefine the cocktail experience.
A person’s wardrobe can reveal so much more about them than just their aesthetic sensibility. Mine reflects a lot about my life, in that both are defined by clear cut extremes. I’m either ultra casual, in work mode or looking fancy in a suit or a tux. As a bartender, particularly at a place like the NoMad Bar, I need to dress the part and look nice for our guests. Although the job can get a little messy, I need to look crisp, no matter what. When I’m not working, I like to go in the opposite direction and wear my most worn-in jeans with my softest t-shirt. On a night off, however, any number of events might be taking place, and I need to don my fancier duds, something I certainly enjoy doing. As far as a fashion philosophy goes, I would say what you wear doesn’t really matter, so long as you’re wearing a nice coat and the right shoes. My wardrobe flair is definitely found in my coats and shoes. As long as these are in check, I’m looking and feeling good.
As for Leo’s personal style:
I live in jeans, dark blue or black. Tending bar can get messy, and they hide the bitters and booze I’ll inevitably end up wearing home. Two of my favorites denim lines are J Brand (I love The Mick) and Simon Miller, which uses Japanese textiles.
I never stop moving, both when I’m working and when I’m not, so I pick my shirts based on fit, quality and comfort. All of my dress shirts are from Isaia. Their fabrics and tailoring can’t be beat. I like dressing up, but when I’m not at work, likely you’ll find me in a Henley and jeans. Shirts from Vince, John Varvatos and Rag & Bone comprise the rest of my shirt game.
When I am not in jeans, I am in slacks from Isaia with a few Vince slim fit trousers sprinkled in.
Again, Isaia! I guess I’m a bit of an addict. You can’t beat their tailoring and quality.
I like to keep my accessorizing to a minimum. There are only two things I never leave home without: a pair of sunglasses and a wallet. My sunglasses are Rayban Modern Wayferers or Classic Persols. With my wallet, I go back and forth between a baby blue Hermes bifold and a simple black Prada credit card case. They’re both sentimental to me, as they were gifts from two of my best friends.
I love watches, but rarely wear them at work because they usually end up full of sugar and booze. Occupational hazard. My favorite watch is my grandfather’s Patek Phillipe.
If I’m in the mood to accessorize a little more than usual, I’ll go for a solid skinny tie. But I also have a soft spot for the old fashioned bow tie, particularly those from designer Alexander Olch. I actually like his bow ties so much, I made them part of bartenders’ uniforms at The NoMad Bar.
I have a bit of a coat obsession, and can’t walk by a rack without trying them on. It probably all started when someone gave me a Belstaff coat a few years ago I had to exchange for another size. I remember opening the doors to the Belstaff store and being mesmerized. I treat myself to a new Belstaff coat every Chanukah. This winter, I’ll be sporting a new Isaia cashmere coat that I’m unreasonably excited about. It has a detachable cape! There’s one more coat I feel compelled to mention here. It’s possibly my absolute favorite article of clothing I’ve ever purchased: a Maison Martin Margiela camel coat, cut on a bias. This coat is also one of the great losses of my life, as it went missing one hazy night out.
I only wear Issey Miyake.
Your favorite App:
I probably use the Tile app the most, as I’m always losing my keys. Spotify and Soundcloud are tied at a close second.
Favorite piece of technology:
I would have to say my iPhone. I use it for music, work and fun. And thanks to my iPhone, I can actually find my keys in the morning!
Next tech purchase:
I need a new iPad. I’m feeling a bit behind the times with my first generation model.